In 2016, I spent a month traveling through Western Australia. While first and foremost landscapes were on my agenda, I never went anywhere without my compact and lightweight Leica Q. Read more
In 2016, I spent a month traveling through Western Australia. It was my second time in Australia. In the early nineties, in New South Wales, I did a reportage about Belgian and Dutch fans of Australian tv-series (Suns and Daughters, Neighbors, Flying Doctors, …) visiting their idols. This time, I went as photographer. Read more
Nice la Belle. The summer of 2015. In a photography magazine, I read about Martin Parr’s photo exhibition “Life’s a Beach”, obviously a hint to “Life’s a Bitch”, though I am not sure how to understand the paraphrasing. Parr, a Magnum photopgrapher, has a reputation. He is a chronicler of our age. His photographs may seem exaggerated, even grotesque. They indulge in criticism, seduction and humour. They show us in a penetrating way how we live, how we present ourselves to others, and what we value: the mission, par excellence, of photography. Beaches, in that sense, are peculiar biotopes, micro worlds that people resort to temporarily, massively, intensely. They forget about their walks of life, their complexity, their inequality. Lemmings they seem, whose sole destination it is to go out there and capture and mine a free piece of beach. I went to see Parr’s pop up show at Nice’s Théâtre de la Photographie et de l’Image. A video showed Parr at work on the beach: a man properly dressed, holding an in beach terms flashy DSLR camera with a flash on it, a seducing smile, humour. It inspired me to go out there and try my own observation: with my Leica M, its 50mm summilux. Off we go. I hope you enjoy the story.
Bukavu, August 11th. Shooting a documentary in Uganda, South Sudan and the ‘Democratic‘ Republic of Congo, we only accidentally pass Bukavu’s cathedral, a colonial heritage in light Provençal blue, and hear what sounds like women singing. Although the church is full, the music comes from outside the church. Women, men and children are rehearsing the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, which they will celebrate on August 15th. It’s a colourful bunch, but what strikes the most is their joy, the light in dark eyes, that unequivocal joie de vivre preferably finding its way in music, singing, dancing, in things they can enjoy together. Conviviality is highly cherished in Congo.
At first, some people are shy, being confronted with a ‘muzungu’ (white person) taking photo’s, some are reluctant, some even hide behind their text page. But those who accept the game of being teased with humour or those I depict in that very moment they thought being unobserved, some who suddenly show audacity even, brought me a series of expressive photographs showing the so charming beauty of the Congolese, men, women and children alike. It is, however, a beauty against all odds. The country is in a deplorable state, corruption rules, democracy is merely a word.